Summer Stuff

It seems I can’t go an entire summer these last few years without losing my hearing at least once. My doctor looked at my ears two weeks ago after I told her of this issue and everything looked good. My ears are just that damn sensitive and now here I am on Labor Day weekend not able to hear anything. Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday cannot get here soon enough. So let’s do some writing about the summer, shall we? BECAUSE I CAN STILL WRITE. I’m all about being grateful for what I CAN do.

I spent December of last year all the way through the entire month of July fighting my medical insurance and ultimately I won. So this was both an uneventful summer, but it has also been a summer of getting stuff done. I have a new social worker, a new doctor, and a physical therapist now. Currently working on getting an optometrist and a dentist. My doctor has given me medication for things every other doctor I’ve ever had would not. Thanks to that, I am already feeling much better. This doctor is not messing around. I like her.

I had my physical therapy evaluation last week. I have two exercises I do at home for now and my first regular appointment is next Friday. To be honest, I am a little (ok, more than a little) afraid for my therapist to work with me. I had PT until I was three years old and my parents stopped taking me because my old therapist tore the Achilles tendon in my left foot. I may have been very small at the time, but I remember that day and that pain like it just happened yesterday. I’ve made the new therapist aware that happened so I’m going to be spending this week telling myself I’ll be safe with this person and it’s her job to help me. I’m sure it will be just fine. I am so grateful to even have this help. I’ve wanted PT my entire life and I’m so on top of it. Even though my ears are causing me to feel not so great at the moment, I’ve been doing my exercises every day. I’m so excited about all of it. And yes everyone who has said “take it slow” — I promise I’ll never overdo it. I’ve never been that person.

On the summer fun side of things, here’s a list…

 – I took a social media break and spent an entire month just writing. And reading. Mostly writing.
– If you’re a creative type, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast on iTunes. Trust me. Just do it.
– I’m obsessed with Inside Out because sometimes I am a child. Well done, Disney/Pixar.
– Bianca and I took the train to LA to see my Kristin get a star on the Walk of Fame. It was worth the longest, hottest day if only to hug KC on her birthday, truly. Also, Carol Burnett was one of the guest speakers and that really doesn’t suck either.
– There is now a couch in my living room. My Person is good to me and I am grateful.
– Speaking of My Person, Janice was back in LA for the month of August. We took the nieces out to play. We had our favorite tacos. We went to our favorite vegan restaurant. I was introduced to shaved ice. Basically, when Janice is home, we eat.
– My Jessica from Orlando booked her flight to come visit me for a week in November. Happy Birthday to me!
– I randomly won free tickets to see Kristian Bush and Rita Wilson in LA last week. That man’s music is soul-changing. And Rita Wilson is pretty classy too. Her new album is going to be fantastic. (Side note, B is now kicking herself for not telling Tom Hanks when we saw him that she played Woody at Disney World. I am just amused over it.)
– I am now mourning the loss of the mango black tea lemonade at Starbucks. Damn you, pumpkin spice latte… It’s barely September!
– I have the best cat on the face of the planet. Just a reminder.
– Playing House is the funniest show on television.

All is well. I need a nap.

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Being alive in music and love.

A change of scenery can do a lot if you are healing from something that has taken a toll on your body.  I spent most of the month I was recovering from the double ear infection from Hell in my bed, terrified of the lack of sound, on top of being put through all of the medicinal side effects.  I was in a dark place, cried every day, and was in the mindset that it really wouldn’t get any better.  No one around me understood.  I felt completely alone.

On August 10th, the day after I got one ear back, I forced my body (as much as it didn’t want to) to leave the house.  I spent the afternoon at the fair with two of my sisters and we saw Martina McBride in concert.  This was the best gift God could have given my poor, broken ears.  Most people looked at me when I said I was going to a concert almost deaf like I was crazy.  However, Martina McBride has always been my favorite country lady, I associate her with so many positive things that I so desperately needed in that moment.  Singing her songs with my Mom years ago in Arizona and singing them in a different life now with my best friends on our car karaoke CDs.  I didn’t want those moments to just become memories.  I wasn’t going to accept that my person and I would never belt out a rousing rendition of “Independence Day” while driving around SoCal ever again.  I mean, we have to teach our nieces these important routines.  The fact that I may go completely deaf the next day was irrelevant to me.

The moment the music swelled, and Martina opened her mouth for that first note, I got a little teary.  I could not be more thankful to hear one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I danced through the whole show.  I sat there and thought anyone who was not on their feet doing the same, was really taking for granted the moment they were in.  The whole world melted away.  I was with my summer concert partners in crime.  Everything dark that had been weighing me down was pushed into the purest of light.  Music soothed and opened me up.  Thank you Martina, for making me feel like I could breathe for the first time in weeks.  Music is so vital to being alive.  I felt myself living then.

The days following the concert were rough, but I kept fighting the pain and the dark monster that seemed to be hiding under my bed when he tried to peek in.  I struggled but was rejuvenated.  Knowing well that my heart family would all be together a week or so later.  I had to be well enough for that.  My Person was home then and that was what I was looking forward to all summer.  Nothing was going to keep me away from my family.

There is nothing more healing than a hug from someone you love who you haven’t seen in a long time.  There is nothing more healing than watching the small children in your life play and laugh together in the summer sun.  There is nothing more healing than sitting around a patio with people who do nothing but uplift you, just taking in the moment.  Thanking God for tangible proof that family really is just the people who love you.

I noticed something the night the Westies got together that I’ve never noticed before.  I don’t know if it’s because I do it on autopilot and don’t realize I’m doing it or what, but every time I am with any one of those people, on my way home I listen to Kristin Chenoweth.  I listen to Kristin and I talk to God, the whole way home, and thank Him for these moments, my people, this life.  So many blessings to count.  I thank Him every day of course, but I never realized how prominent it was as I say goodbye until the next time.  I always say thank you.  I really don’t have any regrets.

And the power of healing moments, well, at my doctor’s appointment yesterday I found out my ears are almost completely healed.  I am still deaf in my left ear, but the doctor said it should come back to me in a few days.  There were some things that were concerning on my blood work results but I am not afraid because now nothing can push me down.  I have love – it really is all I need.

The sounds around you.

If you’re following me on twitter, you’re probably aware just how much I am struggling right now.  If you’re not following me on twitter, then here’s the deal:

My body has been putting me through pretty much everything this summer, and about three weeks ago on top of many other things, I got a double ear infection.  No one believed me.  Everyone kept telling me it was just an earache and it would go away.  Sometimes I don’t think people realize that I know my own body and I know when things are wrong.  In high school, I would have ear infections all summer from swimming in the lake every weekend. (My Arizona Mommy will tell you this, too.) So needless to say, my body especially knows when I have an ear infection, okay?

I ended up in the emergency room.

My whole face swelled up, I couldn’t talk and the pain was so severe it felt as if my ears were going to explode off the sides of my head.  The ER doctor confirmed what I suspected the whole time and sent me home with oral antibiotics, antibiotic ear drops and pain killers.  Thank God for you, ER doctor.  The medication hit me with every possible rough and disgusting side effect.  What the doctor failed to tell me was, there was a chance I’d lose my hearing.  I mean, I guess I should have figured that was a possibility, but I wasn’t thinking about it because with all of the ear infections I have ever had, that has never happened.

I lost my hearing.  Completely.

Waking up one morning and not being able to hear a single sound is, in a word, terrifying.  It was even harder that no one understood.  I regretted only knowing the ASL alphabet, but even if I knew actual words, I was not around people who would know what I was saying anyway.  I couldn’t get out of bed because I couldn’t walk without falling because my balance was so screwed up.  For a week and a half,  I heard nothing.  I couldn’t talk on the phone.  I couldn’t watch TV or movies.  People would continue to have conversations with me and then get mad at me for “ignoring” them, or yell in my face thinking I’d understand.  I was scared it would never come back.  I was scared I would never hear my nieces giggling ever again.  I was scared I’d never hear my angel girls sing to me again.  One of the hardest parts of this whole thing was the loss of music.  Hold your music close to you, if you ever lose it, you’ll feel like you’re dying without it.  Every possible horrible senario ran through my head.  I cried all day long every single day.  When the world is moving around you the complete silence is eerie.  Thank God for text messaging and the internet.

At my follow-up appointment this last Thursday, one ear was well enough to be flushed out.  Hearing sound for the first time was a little like waking up from a long sleep.  I had never felt more grateful to hear the smallest things.  The jury is still out on the other ear though.  It’s still pretty infected and I still can’t hear out of it.  I also had blood tests done.  I’ll get an update on my broken ear and my blood  test results in two weeks.  I also got a stronger dosage of ear drops because apparently the ER doctor gave me a pediatric dosage.  So, let’s pray this will do the trick.

It amazes me the people that check in on me or send gifts and love when I’m scared, alone, sick and hurt.  It’s always some people you expect, some you don’t, and even complete strangers.  This has not gone unnoticed.  Thank you to all of you for your messages, words of comfort and reassurance, love, gifts and continued prayers.  The world is made is up of some wonderful people.  I am so blessed to have some of the most heartfelt of those people in my life.  God bless you all for taking care of me and my heart when I so desperately needed it.  Thank you.  Just… thank you.  You all know who you are.

When you go to bed tonight, count your smallest blessings.  Even if it’s just the sounds around you.